Recipe for the Dying Arts
The August sun’s above, my shadow’s leaning north, and the hose trickles over seedlings—collards, kale, beets, and mustard greens. While, my mind wanders in that alpha state of watering. I’d just heard from my friend Anne — her mother died suddenly and they’ve flown East for the services. Anne in her mid-thirties, with three young children, and an infant. Her mother had just visited for a month after the baby was born.
“Bring our recipes home.” Kathy said. “Back into community. They’re lost on big sites.”
We’re drinking Russian Caravan tea and eating peach pie. Kathy’s my cooking friend, and I love how she thinks about food. Of course, tea, pie and philosophy— what could be better?
U-pick Golden Plums
On an August evening, meandering, I notice several lots of plum trees.
Once tended, now their limbs tangle skyward, in mossy silhouettes, twiggy with sparse fruit.
As my town gentrifies, these orchards will go, but for now there’s fruit enough for deer, and juices run from the broken plums, who’ve fallen and are abuzz with yellow jackets.
Following 19th and Discovery, more plum branches shadow the sidewalk.
I slow, choosing, those who are soft, but not too ripe, biting in, while avoiding the bitter skin and getting right to the flesh. Sucking and dripping juice, my hands sticky, feeling satisfied and thinking, “I’d rather be here than anywhere.”
A block later, I’m under a fig tree, whose arms lurch overhead. On tippy toes I feel around and find a chartreuse skinned fig with pink seeded insides.
Finishing the last bite, I turn onto 22nd and see a golden plum tree two blocks away.
It’s squarely on someone’s lawn and looks loved. I wish it were closer to the road, but it’s not and the house has wide-eyed windows. The tree's overflowing, but I’m not a trespasser, and am about to walk on when I notice a hand-drawn sign stapled to a wooden stake, “U-pick plums”. I laugh, happy with the world tonight, and cross over to taste them. Delicious sour and sweet, thinking I must come back, because I love to freeze sour plum juice for recipes.
All recipes are linked to my other blog abluedotkitchen.com
Hopefully, a sour plum juice recipe will show up soon.
Sidonie Maroon is a Recipe Developer, Food Writer, Chef and Culinary Educator.She also blogs at her recipe site: abluedotkitchen.com and for the Port Townsend Food Coop